Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials lift interdistrict travel ban in Cambodia; interprovincial travel ban remain in place through April 16 due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Cambodia

This alert began 13 Apr 2020 07:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry bans, quarantine measures, longer immigration wait times

Summary
Authorities in Cambodia lifted a nationwide ban on interdistrict travel, as of April 13, amid ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. However, a ban on interprovincial travel ban remains in effect through April 16. The government has clarified that the restrictions do not affect travel between Phnom Penh and Kandal Province, which surrounds the capital. Although officials have closed provincial borders to transport, exceptions are in place for air, land, and sea freight, as well as for civil servants and garment workers. Authorities are also allowing people to travel to hospitals but are prohibiting groups of more than four people from visiting at a time.

Officials have banned large gatherings during Khmer New Year celebrations, April 13-16, and ordered people to observe the occasion within their families. Authorities have also postponed the public observance of Khmer New Year. Casinos and all public and private schools remain suspended until further notice. Authorities have also closed all border checkpoints with Vietnam and banned cross-border travel for Cambodian and Vietnamese citizens. The government could expand its response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Travel Restrictions
Authorities are quarantining all arrivals into the country at designated premises for 14 days; officials have established facilities at points of entry nationwide. The government continues to bar foreign nationals traveling from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US through April 17 and foreign citizens arriving from Iran through April 18. Issuance of tourist visas and e-visas, visa-on-arrival services, and visa exemption remain suspended through at least April 30.

Foreign nationals intending to visit the country need to obtain a visa from their nearest Cambodian diplomatic mission. The foreign citizens must provide documentation of medical insurance worth at least USD 50,000 and provide a medical certificate from local health authorities stating they have not tested positive for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure. Diplomatic and official visa holders, including employees of international non-government organizations, are exempt from the requirements. The measures will likely lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from locations with significant COVID-19 activity.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int